News / Africa

A Better World for Women and Girls

Phul Kumari, 25, stands with her child in a village community center in Baghpat district, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh October 18, 2011. Kumari was trafficked to Uttar Pradesh as a bride for her husband and has been repeatedly raped by his
Phul Kumari, 25, stands with her child in a village community center in Baghpat district, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh October 18, 2011. Kumari was trafficked to Uttar Pradesh as a bride for her husband and has been repeatedly raped by his
Joe DeCapua

A British Medical Journal editorial calls for a moral and political movement to end violence and oppression against women and girls. It says about one billion women worldwide have been beaten, coerced into having sex or otherwise abused.

The BMJ editorial describes oppression against women and girls as a great injustice that is insidious, systematic and widespread.

“We’ve been documenting the problem of violence against women and other abuse and neglect of women in the context of childbirth, etc. There are many programs, campaigns, policies, laws, conventions, treaties that have been devised to eliminate them. There’s been progress in that regard and yet it’s still a global pandemic – the oppression of women and girls,” said coauthor Janice Du Mont.

Du Mont is a scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto and an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She co-wrote the editorial with Associate Professor of Sociology Deborah White of Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.

Basic rights

The editorial says gendered violence, avoidable complications of pregnancy and childbirth are infringements of basic human rights and freedoms.

“When you think about violence against women, for example, and girls, I mean it’s an issue that touches everyone’s lives. You have sisters, mothers, friends, etcetera that have experienced abuse or will experience abuse in the future. So it is a problem relevant to everyone in all countries. This cuts right across boundaries like geography, wealth, culture,” Du mont said.

The British Medical Journal approached the two women to write the editorial as a follow-up to a 2009 book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. It was co-written by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn.

Professor Du Mont says women around the world face many risks.

“The number one consequence of abuse and neglect is just death, period. And I know from surveys worldwide that it’s estimated, for example, that approximately 40 to 70 percent of homicides of women are committed by intimate partners. These are in the context of abusive relationships. So one type of violence against women. Also, both abuse and neglect and pregnancy, etcetera, not having access to proper services, obviously leads to injury and permanent disability,” she said.

She said there are also risks of depression, suicide and chronic diseases. Du Mont says in 2008 there were nearly 360,000 maternal deaths reported worldwide – almost all in developing countries. And then there’s human trafficking, with the vast majority of the 800,000 people trafficked annually being women and girls.

Everyone’s responsibility

I think it really is the courage of women and women activists that first brought this to light – violence against women and girls – as a really shameful human rights violation and really even as a pernicious and pervasive public health problem. But it should not be up to women to end violence against women. And they can’t always be agents of change responsible for their own emancipation. There’s a lot of risk involved in that. As neighborhoods, communities, countries, societies in general we have to care about our women and girls. And it has to be on all of our agendas,” she said.

Gender inequality, she said, is a driving force behind abuse. She says those who harm women must be held accountable, adding men and boys must be fully engaged in promoting equality and preventing violence.

Du Mont said change requires political will based on a collective resolve across the globe.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More